backpacker maps on the iphone

Are you one of those last-minute hikers? The ones who wake up at 7AM on Saturday and just decide that now’s the time to get in your car, drive toward a mountain, and find a trail? If you are, this new service from Backpacker might be for you.

The outdoor magazine and GPS-crazy web site just launched a mobile version of their hike-finder. It’s not very elegant, but it works.

On your internet-enabled cell phone, text “imap” and the postal abbreviation of your state to 32075. You’ll get an immediate response with a link to a page that lists all of their hikes for your state. Like I said, not elegant. You’ll get a list of every single hike they’ve got written up for your state, so a search for California doesn’t register any LA-area hikes until the third or fourth page of results, but they’re there. Some of them are even written by me!

Hopefully, the guys at Backpacker will get in on this new iPhone OS deal and create a dedicated application for their database – one that’s slick, integrated with Google Maps, and allows you to narrow your search based by locality, not just state. But for right now, it’s fun to fool around with, and is a nice way to look for a hike while you’re in a boring business meeting.

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